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Osmosis Jones (film)

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Osmosis Jones poster

Osmosis Jones is a 2001 live-action/animated comedy film directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon for the animated segments and the Farrelly Brothers for the live-action segments. Unusual in this genre, the live-action characters never meet the animated characters.[1]

The film is set in a fictionalized version of the human body, where micro-organisms or any being based in organisms, are anthropomorphic. The film centers on Frank Detorre (Bill Murray), a slovenly zookeeper. Osmosis Jones, is a White blood cell who teams up with a cold pill Drix, to thwart Thrax, a deadly virus, who plans to kill Frank within a matter of hours, which would also kill the other characters living within him.

Osmosis Jones was released on August 10, 2001 in North America. The film met with mixed reviews. Having been a box office bomb, it earned over $14 million worldwide, with its budget being $70 million.[2]

Despite the lack of accolades, Osmosis Jones sold well in home media. It spawned an animated series, Ozzy & Drix, which aired on Kids WB from 2002 to 2004, albeit being completely animated and more emphasis on Osmosis and Drix's partnership in another body. Limited merchandise was created due to the film's financial failure.

PlotEdit

Frank Detorre (Bill Murray) is an unkempt, slovenly zookeeper at the Sucat Memorial Zoo in Rhode Island. Depressed by the loss of his wife years earlier, he copes by unhealthy eating and ignoring basic hygiene, to the annoyance of his young daughter Shane (Elena Franklin).

Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones (Chris Rock) is a rebellious officer of the Frank PD, who was demoted to patrol duty in the mouth after an incident where he induced Frank to vomit against orders (after being the only one to see a salmonella germ on an oyster Frank consumed), resulting in Frank being fired from his previous job at a pea soup factory and banned from visiting Shane's school due to a restraining order filed by her science teacher, Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon), who'd he'd accidentally vomited on in the process.

Facing a serious challenge to his re-election prospects, Mayor Phlegmming (William Shatner) doubles down on his junk-food policies, ignoring their effect on Frank's health. This causes Frank to eat a boiled egg covered in filth, allowing Thrax (Laurence Fishburne), a deadly virus, to enter the throat. Unwilling to admit responsibility, Phlegmming instructs Frank to take a cold suppressant though brain signals. The suppressant, Drixenol "Drix" Koldreliff[3] (David Hyde Pierce), proceeds to disinfect the throat, covering up any evidence of Thrax's arrival.

To his displeasure, Ozzy is subsequently assigned to assist Drix in his investigation. Meanwhile, Thrax assumes leadership of a gang of sweat germs and launches an attack on the mucus dam in Frank's nose, nearly killing Drix before Ozzy rescues him. The two pay a visit to one of Ozzy's informants, who reveals Thrax's plan to pose as a mere cold virus as a cover for killing Frank with a high fever in order to become the next big virus in the medical records. Based on his information, Ozzy goes undercover at a nightclub intending to infiltrate Thrax's gang, only to be discovered and forced to call in Drix, who manages to destroy the club and kill most of Thrax's henchmen with a grenade. The explosion pops a zit on Frank's forehead during a meeting with Mrs. Boyd, ruining any chance for him to apologize. In response, Phlegmming closes the investigation, fires Ozzy, and orders Drix to leave the city.

Having survived the assault, Thrax eliminates his remaining henchmen and breaks into the hypothalamus gland (the portion of the brain that controls body temperature), where he steals a DNA bead. He then abducts the Mayor's secretary, Leah Estrogen (Brandy Norwood), and flees to the mouth to escape. His actions disable the body's ability to regulate temperature, causing the city to break out in flames and panic. As Frank is taken to the hospital in a fever coma, Ozzy and Drix reconcile and proceed to rescue Leah. They succeed, but Thrax is able to exit the mouth using pollen as a distraction. Ozzy pursues him to the surface of Shane's left eye, and as they fight they both land on Shane's left false eyelash when she blinks. As Thrax has Ozzy pinned down, he threatens to break his own record by killing Shane but gets stuck in the false eyelash; Ozzy escapes at the last minute before the eyelash slides off and lands in a vessel of alcohol, dissolving Thrax to death.

As Frank's temperature goes over 108 degrees, his heart begins to shut down. Riding one of Shane's tears, Ozzy reenters his body and replaces the missing chromosome, reviving him just in time. Having narrowly cheated death, Frank commits himself to living a healthier lifestyle for himself and Shane, while Ozzy is re-instated to the force with Drix as his new partner, and begins a relationship with Leah. Phlegmming later loses his position as mayor, is reduced to a custodian in the bowels, and later ejects himself by accidently pushing a button that triggers Frank's flatulence. To this, Frank makes a joke on his health by saying, "Out with the old, in with the new."

Cast Edit

Live actorsEdit

  • Frank DeTorre (Bill Murray) is a 40-year-old widower who works at the zoo. He is prone to eating junk food, behaves laconically and disregards his health. It's inside his body that the animated part of the film takes place.
  • Shane DeTorre (Elena Franklin) is Frank’s 10-year-old daughter. Due to her father’s shortcomings, his health is very important to her. She has become somewhat depressed after her mother’s death, and as a result her grades and relationships with other people are suffering.
  • Mrs. Boyd (Molly Shannon) is Shane’s science and P.E teacher. Having had her reputation and those of her three children ruined after her embarrassment by Frank, she has a 200-yard restraining order against him to prevent any further embarrassment.
  • Bob DeTorre (Chris Elliott) is Frank’s brother and coworker, who got Frank his job at the zoo.
Osmosis jones

Voice actorsEdit

  • Osmosis "Ozzy" Jones, (voice of Chris Rock) a funky, urban, over-zealous blue and white blood cell and the main protagonist of the film with little respect for authority. Since he was discredited, he was suspended for unnecessary force and placed in out-of-the-way patrols. Therefore, he seizes any opportunity to be able to make a difference. He is able to combine his eyes into one, to ooze through narrow spaces like cracks and under doors, and to contort his body.
  • Thrax (voice of Laurence Fishburne) A tall, extremely virulent, and unusually powerful pathogenic agent. He claims loudly: “Ebola is a case of dandruff compared to me!” and has killed numerous people before arriving in Frank. He carries a chain consisting of numerous chromosomes removed from other victims' hypothalamus as a trophy. His left index finger is a long claw, which can melt the cellular equivalent of steel, consume cells and other viruses in flames, and alter the properties of other cells. It is never specified what kind of disease he causes. His name is a play on the bacteria anthrax. Thrax serves as the secondary antagonist, but is later the true main antagonist.
  • Drix (voice of David Hyde Pierce) is a cold pill; he is red and yellow, boxy, and robotic. His right arm is a cannon used to shoot an assorted variety of medication, including one that freezes any target. He is a follower of written rules and compensates for his doubts of himself by acting haughtily. He is intelligent and clever, but has no sense of humor. Straight-laced and by-the-book, Drix disagrees with Osmosis’ methods, but respects Osmosis for continuing to fight illness. He is Osmosis' best friend.
  • Leah Estrogen (voice ofBrandy Norwood) is Mayor Phlegmming’s secretary, greatly relied upon by the Mayor for her skills. She is one of few inhabitants of Frank who realize the flaws of the current administration, and one of the few willing to believe Osmosis’ claims of a large-scale infection. She is Osmosis' love interest.
  • Mayor Phlegmming (voice of William Shatner) is the short, overweight and self-centered mayor of the "City of Frank". He is constantly preoccupied with everything but his job, except when it concerns planning his re-election. His name is a pun on the word phlegm. Mayor Phlegmming is the primary antagonist (later a protagonist at the end) of the film.
  • Tom Colonic (voice of Ron Howard) is Mayor Phlegmming’s opponent in the election. He is a tall, thin cell, and supports a healthier Frank. His mannerisms and personality resemble John F. Kennedy's.
  • Chief of Police (voice of Joel Silver though uncredited) is an extremely large, somewhat gelatinous cell with a short temper. He is evidently used to (though frustrated by) Ozzy’s adventures.

Production Edit

Osmosis Jones went through development hell during production. The animated sequences, directed by Tom Sito and Piet Kroon, went into production as planned, but acquiring both a director and a star actor for the live-action sequences took a considerable amount of time, until Bill Murray was cast as the main character of Frank, and Peter and Bobby Farrelly stepped in to direct the live-action sequences. As part of their contract, the Farrelly brothers are credited as the primary directors of the film, although they did no supervision of the animated portions of the film.

ReleaseEdit

Box officeEdit

Osmosis Jones opened on August 10, 2001 in 2,305 theaters worldwide. Upon its original release, the film lost a considerable amount of money, and was the second-to-last production for Warner Bros.' feature traditional animation department (following The Iron Giant, and followed by Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which both also lost money upon their original releases). The movie opened at #7 in its first opening weekend at the U.S. box office, accumulating $5,271,248 on its opening week while earning $2,286. The film soon grossed $13,596,911.[2]

ReceptionEdit

Osmosis Jones received mixed reviews from film critics. [1]

Based on 108 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, 55% of critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. [4]

At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 57 based on 28 reviews. [1] The animated parts of Osmosis Jones were praised for their plot and fast pace, in contrast with the criticized live action segments, with Rotten Tomatoes' consensus of the film stating, "The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic."

Robert Koehler of Variety praised the film for its animated and live-action segments intervening, claiming it to be "the most extensive interplay of live action and animation since Who Framed Roger Rabbit".[5]

The New York Times wrote "the film, with its effluvia-festival brand of humor, is often fun, and the rounded, blobby rendering of the characters is likable. But the picture tries too hard to be offensive to all ages. I suspect that even the littlest viewers will be too old for that spit."[6]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 stars out of 4.[7] The use of toilet humor in Osmosis Jones, as done in most films directed by the Farrelly brothers, was widely criticized. As such, Lisa Alspector of Chicago Reader described the film as a "cathartically disgusting adventure movie".

Maitland McDonagh of TV Guide praised the film's animation and its glimpse of intelligence although did criticize the humor as being "so distasteful".[8]

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly felt that the film had a diverse premise as it "oscillates between streaky black comedy and sanitary instruction", however the scatological themes were again pointed out. Jonathan Foreman of New York Post claimed Osmosis Jones to have generic plotting, saying that "It's no funnier than your average grade-school biology lesson and less pedagogically useful than your typical Farrelly brothers comedy."

Chris Hewitt of Miami Times described Chris Rock's, Brandy Norwood's and Laurence Fishburne's voice work as Osmosis, Leah and Thrax respectively as "classy" although considered the film to be politically correct as all three of these actors are African-American. Michael Sragow of Baltimore Sun praised David Hyde Pierce's performance as Drix, claiming him to be "hilarious" and "a take-charge dose of medicine". Despite of the mixed reviews, the film received numerous Annie award nominations including Best Animated Feature (losing to Shrek)


Footage cut from the final film Edit

  • In the original script and in early cuts of the film, a scene was featured when Osmosis and Drix go to the Gonad's Gym. It involved them talking to the "exercising" sperm cells. The scene was cut in order to stay family friendly. The Gonad's Gym logo does appear on Drix's suitcase during a scene in police station locker room.
  • In an earlier "cut" of the film, Ozzy and Drix visit an amusement park behind Frank's eye, called "See World". A sign advertising the latter can still be seen near Frank's <stomach, which functions as the "arrivals" terminal of an airport.
  • The DVD release contains three extended (and half-animated) scenes, all of which appear in cut-down form in the final edit:
    • Drix and Jones visit the eyes, while Drix complains that he has to visit the nose and the throat. Jones gets doughnuts and calls the information desk on his 'cell' phone while at the eyes.
    • Frank picks his nose during the dam-bursting sequence, and Jones saves Drix from ending up on Frank's fingertip. In the end, they are inhaled into the sinuses.
    • The race to catch Thrax on his way to the uvula is extended; we see Thrax leap from his car and glide away. After Jones takes the wrong turn, he takes a "shortcut" to the uvula by way of the esophagus, riding a massive, acidic belch up the throat (A reference to the 1991 classic Thelma & Louise). Osmosis says "What the hell is a uvula?" It was later edited from hell to heck.
  • A draft of the script reveals that Osmosis, as a young boy, went to a family reunion. At that time Frank went to the doctors to have some blood removed, possibly in a blood drive. The needle drew out all of Ozzy's relatives, apparently leaving him all alone. This would have add to his "loneliness" in the film. The ending has Frank getting a blood transfusion to save his life, with his own prior blood. Thus Ozzy's family and relatives would have returned to Frank, in a parody of the abductees returning in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This was detailed in the film's commentary.
  • Another scene that was canceled so as to cut time was a scene where it showed how Phlegmming got kicked out of office. In the final cut it's assumed that he was impeached or that he simply lost his run for re-election but in a deleted scene he realizes all of his mistakes and willingly resigns thus putting Tom Colonic in office. This explains how he lost office at the film's end. This was supposed to connect with a scene when Phlegmming sees the city going up in flames and sheds a tear upon realizing all that he has done has caused Frank's near-destruction (this scene being left in the final cut).

Pop culture references Edit

  • During Frank's near death experience, a group of street performers play "Nearer, My God, to Thee", symbolizing the apparent end of Frank. The group's leader who resembles Wallace Hartley remarks, "Gentlemen, playing with you has been the greatest pleasure of my life," before playing one final stanza. In the film Titanic, the ship's orchestral quartet does the same (mirroring the actions of the ship's band on the historical Titanic). Mayor Phlegmming's scene of shedding a tear at realizing he has doomed everyone in Frank also parallels Titanic's captain Edward Smith and builder Thomas Andrews, both of whom went down with the ship.
  • When Drix is introducing himself to Ozzy, he mentions that he was developed at the University of Chicago and graduated Phi Beta Capsule.
  • The Matrix is parodied briefly during the final fight between Jones and Thrax (Matrix star Laurence Fishburne) on the surface of Shane's eyeball. As Thrax gives Jones a roundhouse kick and Jones bends down to duck, the scene freezes and the camera swivels around the two in trademark Matrix style. In addition, Thrax wears a long black coat and sunglasses as the Matrix characters do.
  • In the scene where Jones stops Drix from leaving Frank, one of the germs is holding a Pikachu.
  • The line that Osmosis sings in the scene after The Zit explodes ("My name is what, my name is who, my name is ah! Osmosis Jones") is from the song "My Name Is" by Eminem.
  • At The Zit, the band Ozzy and Drix see is called Kidney Rock. It is a parody of rapper Kid Rock and his back-up band, including rapper Joe C., who died nearly a year before the release of this movie.
  • The movie makes a reference to a "National Buffalo Wing Festival" in Buffalo, New York. The event did not exist at the time. Buffalo resident Drew Cerza, upon seeing the movie, decided to organize a real-life National Buffalo Wing Festival, which has been held in Buffalo annually since 2002.
  • When Osmosis calls the information desk for the translation of "muerte rojo," mentioned by the sole survivor of the crashed saliva boat that caused the destruction, he was told that it was Spanish for "red death." This could very well be a reference to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" as well as saying that the fictional disease from the story is the same as Thrax.
  • In one scene a poster is shown that says "peace in the middle ear".

Merchandising Edit

There was very little merchandising for the film. Trendmasters planned on releasing a toy line of the characters from the film (including but not limited to action figures, "flingable "snot" and the like). However, they claimed they would only release the toys if the film exceeded $65 million at the box office. Unfortunately, the film failed to do so and the toys were never released. One of a few products released was a video game based on the series Ozzy & Drix. Hats, posters, soundtracks and presskits for the film can be found on eBay.

Soundtrack Edit

A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on August 7, 2001 by Atlantic Records. The soundtrack failed to make it to the Billboard charts, but Trick Daddy's single "Take It to da House" managed to make it to 88 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

MPAA issue Edit

Osmosis Jones was rated PG-13 in 2000, but in 2001 the film was re-rated PG for "bodily humor." The reason why was to delete certain scenes and make the film more family-friendly.

References Edit

External links Edit

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